Got opposite hip and shoulder pain? You may have dysfunction in your anterior oblique or posterior oblique sling! Our muscles and myofascial structures work together in slings or subsystems to create dynamic, rotational movement. We see these slings at work in movement patterns like walking, throwing a ball, swinging a tennis racket, and even crawling on the ground! Because the structures in these slings require cohesive effort, a weakness in one part of the sling could cause another part to overwork. The basic sling composition is:
Posterior oblique sling:
Opposite Latissimus Dorsi
Anterior oblique sling:
Behind every big, efficient, powerful joint movement is a set of muscles designed for power (phasic muscles) and a set of muscles designed for stabilization (postural muscles). The difference between these muscles lies in their muscles fibers. Postural muscles are composed of a higher percentage of red, slow-twitch fibers, which create slow, long-lasting contractions. While our phasic muscles are composed of a higher percentage of white, fast-twitch fibers, which create fast, powerful, short-lived contractions. You can’t have large movement without stabilization and still expect to move with efficiency and ease Methods like Pilates are built on strengthening stabilizing muscles in order to make larger movements more efficient and powerful.
It took me a while before I realized that multitasking isn’t productive and generally causes more harm than good. Like when I try to cook and talk on the phone at the same time... 😬 The serratus anterior is capable of multitasking. It is a muscle that spreads out across the rib cage in multiple directions and acts in multiple ways. Although it can stabilize the shoulder AND assist in chest breathing, doing these two things at once can overwork the muscle and cause pain around the shoulder and thoracic ribs. So when it comes to any movements that require shoulder stabilization (anything from throwing a ball to lifting your toddler into the car) breathe through your belly instead of higher up in your chest to allow the serratus to focus on shoulder stability.
*Fyi: I used a combo of neurokinetic therapy and myofascial techniques to isolate and relieve the overworking serratus muscles in the examples given.
One of the many reasons I love being a bodyworker...
It’s a competitive world out there with lots of pressure to become more productive, happier and wealthier—all while staying healthy and sane! I truly believe that we can achieve our most productive, happiest, and most successful selves when we are well-connected to our bodies and able to distinguish between the things that serve us and the things that drain us. I believe massage therapy is a profound way to connect to our bodies. It allows us to confront the physical manifestation of the stressors that do not serve us. If we can be honest about the impact stress can have on our bodies, then we can reframe our relationship to those stressors and continue to try to be our most productive, happy, and successful selves without waging war on our bodies.
Empowerment beyond the massage table...
As a bodyworker and teacher, I love helping to educate people about their bodies. I think our relationship to our bodies is vitally important to our mental health. This blog features a few tools, articles, and fun facts to help you empower your body :) -Emily